COVID-19 Journal: Day 53

I've read a lot today. I'm writing a bit earlier than usual (usual?!), and I was typing even before this blank post loaded on my computer. I thought I'd lost the ability to read and I was comfortable blaming The Virus. But no. Maybe it's only a matter of what you read, not how much.  But today I've read a lot. It's usually a good sign when the things you're reading are somehow interwoven, or at least you weave them into each other in the course of your thinking about what you've read. I like it when that happens.

Clare sent me Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Too, which I'm now about half way through. I didn't know anything about it, and especially that one million people have already read it. For that matter, I think I was about the five billionth person to watch Gangnam Style, so perhaps I have some kind of psychic trend block when it comes to Korean culture.

3,612,652,656 views (+1?)

I'm enjoying the story, which feels very real, and I don't know what's going to happen. It's a small world for her, and sadly, over there, boys are (or were?) always prioritised in all things over girls, but she doesn't know any better and just accepts it. Therefore, based on my own biases, I am expecting she'll rebel. Perhaps with violence. Or a move. Or a divorcing. Or, perhaps she won't and that will be the story.

I remember being utterly charmed by Alain de Botton when I was about... 20? I haven't read much of him since then, but enjoyed For Those Of Us Who (Privately) Aspire To Become More Reclusive, which is enjoying a day in the sun, from his The Book of Life.

The quiet understand how much can be drawn out of a single experience, if one takes the time to turn it over in one’s mind. A trip taken ten years ago isn’t really over. So much of it remains unattended in memory: the light on the first morning by the harbour, the little museum with the geraniums in the courtyard, the tomato salad by the forest… Nothing ever disappears, it’s just waiting for the outer world to still before yielding its riches.

There's quiet, and then there's isolated. And then there's desperate and fearful. And then there's Jerry Saltz. Someone I've never heard of pouring his life on to a page. He's become a writer and art critic in his later life, after a fucking tough start: My Appetites: On eating and coping mechanisms, childhood and self-control, criticism, love, cancer and pandemics.

The Greek definition of catastrophe is an “overturning,” an end to the status quo. The order that has been overturned in this crisis is not in the way Roberta and I eat or shop. It is how everyone else does these things.

It's an odd, hard and private life made public, and I read the whole long thing on my phone, which I'm not sure I've ever done before. Remarkable.

I've also read sad and strange news of right-wing militia groups in Michigan hanging about with automatic weapons to "protest" their right to "freedom" and not being made to stay at home. It's fucking stupid. I mean, it's the definition of stupid. I hope very, very much that they don't fire those guns, because that would become tragic. That was paired with the reporting on how infection rates are now rising in red states in the USA.

Dark red means moving around

Just imagine for a moment, and I mean please stop and imagine, how isolated we'd be if the internet went down. Even under my own roof, I've been able to go to Korea, Alain de Botton's brain, New York, Michigan, and around my own imagination. Thank the goddesses of the universe and beyond I can explore. That's some outstanding keeping busy. Or is it procrastination?

Everyone's being very accommodating of that hazy distinction at the moment. I was a bit worried my curiosity had dulled. This may be a blip though.